Make Your Own Natural Sunscreen
Following on from my previous articles where I talked about not getting enough sunshine and therefore not enough vitamin D, and how safe sunscreens are (or aren’t), today I’m going to look at natural and eco friendly alternatives to sunscreens.
The good part about making your own natural sunscreen, is that you know exactly what goes into it. However, the commercial sunscreens do have an advantage – they block more of the sun’s rays. So be safe – if you use your own homemade natural sunscreen, don’t assume you can stay out all day in the full sun!
There are three main ingredients in natural, eco friendly homemade sunscreen:
- oil, so you can smooth it over your skin,
- a natural moisturizer to protect your skin, and
- (optionally) a scent.
Oil: choose from sesame, coconut, jojoba or olive oil – ideally, organic and unrefined. To moisturise, choose from aloe vera, shea butter and grapefruit seed extract. Add essential oils for scent. Mix / blend well, and you have your own natural sunscreen!
For added protection against burning, you could also add some zinc oxide to the mixture if you are comfortable with it.
Again, be aware that this type of natural sunscreen will not last as long as commercially available potions. But you know what goes into it, and you’re protecting your health.
Update: from my friends at Abundant Health Center: use Carrot Seed essential oil mixed with coconut or olive oil as a natural sunscreen – it has a natural SPF of 38 – 40 – isn’t that wonderful!
Other Sun Protection Tips
Moderation: Remember, as a general rule we are not getting enough vitamin D. You need sunscreen, but not all the time. Remember to spend short amounts of time in the sun without sunscreen – gradually build up your exposure time depending on how sensitive your skin is to the sun. Spending time in the sun makes you feel better too!
Impregnated Clothing: You can buy clothing impregnated with chemicals to protect you from the sun and bugs. (Personally, I would not wear such clothing – mainly because I don’t know the ingredients, plus I would lose track of how many times I washed it so I could not be sure if it still offered protection). But it sells well, and I believe it is used in the military.
Eating Well Helps: Try to eat plenty of dark green, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables, to keep your skin healthy and less prone to skin damage. Eating fewer processed foods and drinks is better for your health in general, but there is some evidence to show that eating quality fresh food and drinking lots of water can also help to protect your skin against sunburn. Green tea is also good for skin cancer protection.
Reverse your Thinking: Consider how healthy you are from the inside out instead of the outside in.
What About Men? I was surprised to read a survey which showed that almost 80 percent of women wear sunscreen, while only 34 percent of men do. (That got me wondering – do more men get skin cancer? Do women spend more time in the sun than men? Is men’s skin better protected? I don’t know the answers, but I found it fascinating).
The Difference between Sunscreen and Sunblock
I was asked a great question – when does sunscreen become sunblock? In theory, mineral-based sunscreen is normally sunblock as it reflects the sun’s rays away from you, while the more traditional chemical lotions are sunscreens. In theory, sunscreen allows you to tan, while sunblock does not. Both reduce your ability to produce vitamin D. However, today many lotions contain both chemicals and minerals, and so the terms have become more loosely applied.
Next: Tips for protecting children from sunburn – from new-borns to teens.
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Skin Cancer Foundation, Environmental Working Group, Wikipedia, Organic Make-up Canada, Zen to Fitness, Alternative Consumer, Green Footsteps, PETA, Peak Testosterone, Foreueblog.com, Time Magazine, Skin Care Hub, Wise Geek, Pediatric Career, Holistic, Green Living Ideas, Pure Energy Wellness, Natural Living for Women, L A Times, Eco Life, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, cancer.gov
Photo Credits: Woman at beach: microsoft.com Man at Beach Microsoft.com / Corbis.